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Carbon Mark / I-X Launch

  • Published on February 26, 2023

The Carbon Mark project officially launched on the 21/02/23, marking the beginning of using AI to create a carbon footprinting mechanism capable of calculating and comparing the full life-cycle footprints of products, and making those calculations freely available to be used globally.

Launched as part of I-X, Imperial College London’s new interdisciplinary AI initiative in London, Carbon Mark aims to develop and incorporate into the world’s portfolio of mitigation resources, a new and significant means of reducing emissions in a world which – in spite of global climate legislation and progress on green energy – has produced more emissions in the last twenty years than in the twenty years before.

Recent advances in AI and Machine Learning has enabled Imperial College London  – the project’s lead academic partner – to unprecedentedly, begin to create a mechanism capable of calculating carbon footprints on a product-by-product basis with unprecedented accuracy, and making those calculations freely available to be used globally, so that the world’s combined ‘purchasing power’ can be leveraged to make substantial carbon emission cuts. 

By making the calculations freely available for anyone to incorporate in the products, services and applications which they provide, the market economy itself can be utilised to accelerate emission reductions at scale. Incorporated into e-commerce marketplaces and search engines, it could be used by the 1.8 billion people who currently shop online to buy ‘greener’ goods. Public procurement, which spends over $9.5 trillion on goods and services annually, could make highly accurate purchasing decisions regarding emissions, not price alone. The financial sector could accurately see the climate risks associated with their portfolios. As the system evolves in complexity, it could even help governments innovatively implement robustly informed carbon taxation policies. The uses are manifold.

Furthermore, once the mechanism is proven to successfully calculate carbon emissions, the same model could be extended to calculate how ecological products are in terms of, for example, water usage, toxins, packaging and plastic pollution.

The goal now is to build on Imperial College’s breakthrough by bringing together a consortium of internationally prestigious organisations and governing bodies which – by contributing their outstanding expertise and pooling resources – will help bring a global footprinting mechanism to fruition.

 “Collectively we can harness this new technology to deliver a unique and potent way to combat climate change which is, of course, the overwhelming long-term threat to our natural world, its rich biodiversity and the global economy.”  (Martin Smith, Carbon Mark Founder)

The mechanism can spark a new wave of sustainabilIty-based innovation and technology with substantial opportunities for those companies and organisations who recognise its potential. As the full life-cycle emissions of goods and services are made visible consumers will be able to judge, with unprecedented accuracy, the sustainability of the things they buy, while businesses will have a new means of competing for their market share – not just predominantly by price, but by improving the carbon emissions of the products and services they provide. 

External Links:
Carbon Mark homepage

Imperial College London I-X homepage

Imperial College London’s I-X Launch | Tuesday 21 February 2023

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